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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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food grains are in the process of declining relative to other consumer prices throughout large parts of the monsoon heartland.
The interacting supply and demand developments of food have held the stage up to now. The next scene features the supporting actors. I now turn to the effects of population growth and agricultural productivity upon these factors: the supply of labor—its age composition, schooling, and skill; the demand for farm labor; family savings; the value of children to parents in farm work; internal migration as farming areas become depressed; the income of families generally; and the decisions of parents in having and rearing children. These effects are revealed in additional interactions that occur between agriculture that is gaining in productivity and a population that is experiencing a high rate of growth. I am mindful of the fact that although these effects can be perceived, there is a paucity of information when it comes to determining their quantitative importance. Stating them briefly, and leaving aside the reasons for these interactions, they can perhaps be presented best as a series of tentative propositions.
Farm Labor
For the time being in low income countries the labor force (hired workers, farmers and their families) employed in farming is increasing. In general, the higher the rate of increase in the population as it adds to size of the labor force, the stronger the economic tendency that the employment of additional labor in agriculture will rise during the near future. This proposition implies that in many of these countries the ratio of farm workers to the area of land under cultivation will rise, and in some of them the size of the farms will decline during this period. However, it would be an error to infer from this proposition that the modernization of agriculture cannot proceed under these conditions. Modern agricultural inputs, including farm machinery and tractors, are highly divisible (53). There is little room for doubt on this point in view of the successful agricultural development of Japan (61) and Taiwan (51). The development and adoption of high-yielding varieties of rice, the use of chemical fertilizers (17), and millions of small garden-type tractors are all parts of the successful Japanese experience. It is probably true, however, that the cost of supplying new technical and economic information to farmers by agricultural extension rises for a given farming area (country) as the number of farms increases. The farm income disparities that are in the making within agriculture, and the seriousness of these disparities for the future, are com-